Short Wave

by NPR

New discoveries, everyday mysteries, and the science behind the headlines — in just under 15 minutes. It's science for everyone, using a lot of creativity and a little humor. Join hosts Emily Kwong and Regina Barber for science on a different wavelength.If you're hooked, try Short Wave Plus. Your subscription supports the show and unlocks a sponsor-free feed. Learn more at

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Recent Reviews
  • NeutronPressure
    Terrible Ad To Content Ratio
    I’ve been a member of my local public radio for decades, and the fact that this podcast has a significantly lower content-to-ad ratio than the for-profit podcasts I listen to is insulting. Why did I donate all these years to get more advertising in your podcast than anywhere rlse? And on top of it, it seems like every other week that subscription only episodes show up in my feed and stay there as if the non subscription version was forgotten. No, I’m not paying a monthly fee to individual shows as a public radio member. I gave you plenty of money already. I get times are tough but to hear NPR shilling for energy companies, reading their greenwashing messages and helping them blame the consumer is sickening. Or plugging for online therapy companies who got caught (and fined a pittance for) sharing patient data with advertisers. Sickening. Strip away the ads (oops, “sponsor messages”) and fix the chronic “we forgot to release the non-subscription version” issues, and you have a somewhat decent podcast that has improved a bit lately by focusing a bit more on the science and a bit less on the storytelling without eliminating it. But I probably should just unsubscribe (and cancel my membership) and save the frustration.
  • Mogadeet1451
    Stop calling scientists “nerds”
    The content is excellent, but the hosts sound like school teachers working hard to get a bunch of middle school kids excited about science. I really hate that researchers are always described as “nerds” about their subject. It sounds so juvenile. Are you going to call oncologists “cancer nerds”? Know your audience. If someone is listening to this podcast, they are likely already interested in science. You don’t have to work so hard to be enthusiastic.
  • Unemployed Hero
    Overproduced - Used to be 5 Stars
    Good hosts, interesting topics, & knowledgeable guests. Unfortunately it’s hard to hear them speaking with the overpowering “background” music & unnecessary sound effects. It used to be added to just the intro/end (which is fine) but now there’s music pretty much the whole time. This overproduction has made one of my favorite podcasts unlistenable
  • Smooth d tickle
    No thanks, you racists.
    I am really disappointed by these women being sexist and racist against men and whites. Also, the content stinks.
  • 😀😁😃😆😄😃😁😀😃😀😁😍😍😍
    Response to a reviewer
    When was their ever easiest and sexiest comments I’ve been listening for several years now and have not heard one. Great podcast! Don’t listen to the negative reviews!
  • Nickifiable
    Timely divisive refreshes
    I find it interesting you chose to renew an episode from March of 2022 today about - who would be affected most by overturning Roe - I am a democrat, but y’all be stirring up controversial topics at opportunistic times.
  • Bad Bad Bad and more Bad
    Simple and infantile ideas presented as a big deal.
  • ScatchNsniff
    I disagree with a recent comment I read. Maddie and Emily are great. I am not really a fan of Aaron Scott. I'm sure he is a brilliant human but he acts as if he is completely lost and aloof and it is unbecoming. Used to be my daily go to. Now I just skip.
  • tessygy
    Much better with new hosts
    Ever since the show got rid of Maddie and Emily, the show’s quality has increased 10 fold. It’s still lighthearted and fun without coming off as immature or annoying. Love my little daily dose of science!
  • EagleTheBruin
    Educational, interesting, and fun!
    This show serves up such interesting bits of science news that you otherwise wouldn’t hear about. It can also offer practical insights. With all the doom and gloom out there, this show does wonders to restore my faith in the future and humanity.
  • soharaking
    Social Justice Warriors
    You gotta admire one thing about NPR over any other news source. affirming today’s victims with Yesterdays history
    Great podcast
    This is an awesome podcast! Recommend for all ages.
  • Ddocman123
    Very political
    I used to love this podcast, but over the last few years I’ve noticed that they insert political views about race and gender in nearly every episode. These are certainly valid topics to talk about, but it feels very forced and detracts from the actual science. For example, in the latest episode “What is Math?” they go from talking about what imaginary numbers are straight into talking about how math was historically dominated by “European white men”. A good few minutes were spent on that topic instead of talking about how cool math is. Why is that necessary in a science podcast?
  • NigelHorne
    Too focussed on Biology and rude presenters
    Interesting enough, but rarely covers physics and almost never covers chemistry or geology. After years of listening to it, the openly racist and sexist comments have, however, warn me down.
  • @cjeffersondavis
    NPR junky disappointed
    I just subscribed to Short Wave podcast today 8/3/23 & listened to my first episode (a review on the Oppenheimer movie 🎥) which I enjoyed immensely. My disappointment stems from my expectation (probably miss informed) that the annual subscription was add free. The episode was 12 minutes, of which approximately 2 were consumed by “contributing supporter’s” commercial ads. Need I say more?
  • DapperToad
    I sincerely want to be obsessed with you
    I really want to love this podcast. I find the subjects and information fascinating, but I find myself frustrated for the first few minutes of every episode wanting to get to the substance. I sincerely wish these were edited down — remove some of the filler back and forth and long introductions and jump right in. I’m not opposed to some personality and liveliness but I find the episodes can be tedious to get to the meat or point. It’s starting to get under my skin. Hook me right away with a deep dive into the science, take out some of the filler commentary that can linger. Please!! Consider tightening the format to a more bite sized immersion and let the fun come through naturally. I will love you, and I know I can’t be alone. I sincerely want to be obsessed with you.
  • Accesette
    Love this podcast but…
    I absolutely hate that they never mark the episodes that are repeated. I don’t have have an issue with them repeating episodes, but I’d like to know if the one in my feed is one I’ve heard before. I don’t know how many times I’ve been listening to an episode & think that I’ve heard it before. I do a quick search & find that I have. Every other podcast that I listen to will mark their repeat episodes except the his one. How hard is it to put the word “repeat” in the episode title or description? Considering they even change the names of the repeated episodes it makes me think that they are trying to pass off their repeats as new content.
  • 221155phl
    Everyone needs to listen
    Digestible for all. This is my absolute #1 favorite podcast, I’ve been listening for a long time. As we are in the midst of a solar flare I’m thankful for learning about them here. It’s been haunting me since I heard the episode lol. Thankful I have learn about real life events and phenomena through Short Wave so I have a slightly better understanding of things around me to the universe. Everyone should listen to this, love you guys and what you’re doing! Such valuable stuff!
  • Pure garbage,garbage
    I loveeee ShortWave!!
    Short wave is my favorite NPR show! Please do not cancel or minimize efforts towards this show! The journalism efforts that go into informing the audience with so much information along with science facts and findings on each topic is amazing and amazingly well done! Spoke with facts, un-biased, and wonderful podcast overall! 5/5, recommend to everyone I know! Love you ShortWave!
  • wander in meadows
    just found
    what a wonderful podcast to stumble upon—informative, poetic (yes, science can be), alas then I hear it will be no longer? Please reconsider!
  • Capt Chem
    Less giggling, please!
    Good content, hard to take seriously with all the giggling.
  • crussellmo
    Always interesting
    Sometimes I can’t find anything to listen to, but there’s always a treasure trove of fascinating articles that open my mind to a new aspect of an old world on your show. Thank you so much for your work!
  • Xoxo79
    Not science
    Anyone who actually reads the research and understands basic science knows that the paper they discuss in the raccoon dog episode in no way points to natural origin. Samples taken months after known human cases, in an area of market where there was a bathroom, the list of issues goes on and on… Lost ALL respect and can’t trust them after that.
  • Estorm08
    This podcast is ok. It’s a little too sugary sweet for my taste sometimes. Really end up picking and choosing when I can handle the tone.
  • TriRussell
    For a science podcast there are a lot of unsubstantiated opinions
    I started listening to this podcast at episode #1 and really enjoyed it for the first year. However it keeps drifting further and further away from science and further and further into opinions while trying to voice those opinions as facts. I keep trying this podcast from time to time only to keep being let down. The latest episode I listen claimed walking upright was the worst method of travel. Might need to go back to basic biology and biomechanics.
  • TSA (The Senior Advisor ;)
    Question re: 2/13/23 Pulse Ox Story
    Until the new tech is perfected-can the results be tiered differently for African Americans and non-white patients? Can a study be done using the Pulse Ox followed by the more accurate blood/gas measurement (sorry I’m not a doc) and come up with a table to convert the biased Pulse Ox to a more accurate number? If South American and African nations use this same technology, maybe they may have recognized this error and adjusted the range for a healthy Pulse Ox accordingly?🤷🏻‍♀️ Just asking👍👍🏻👍🏽👍🏿
  • listener_kc
    Great show, but needs to mark reruns!
    Great short pods about science! However, they used to denote when an episode was a replay and they stopped doing that. Some of us listen to so many podcasts that we don’t have time for re-listens! I’ll give back one star if you start marking episodes as “encore” again, when applicable.
  • Caitmarie05
    So Interesting!
    This is one of my favorite daily podcasts! I love the variety of scientific topics they cover, the many people they interview and the quick educational snippets. The hosts are great and I love anytime they use a pun with the show name and daily topic! Keep up the great work!
  • Helena123456789
    Please get rid of Aaron Scott
    He sounds like an overly-earnest 8th grade boy. I expect more professionalism from NPR.
  • Woco moto
    Skipped half episodes to avoid politics
    Heavy political slant and not science. Hard to decide how much is science vs. pushing a message. Skip through about half of them after a couple minutes.
  • Kimbobinator
    Boo subscription models!
    Why even donate if I have to then subscribe for extra episodes?
  • Rich Cl
    Lost me on the condom show
    The show lost me on the condom show. For the record I have a degree in biology. The show leans towards woman which is ok, but at times don't seem very inclusive on that end. Example the bladder case was more about UTI's but that is ok. I realize there are other people listening other than me. But when they have a conversation on male contraceptives and they bring up cis or trans men they lost me. That tells me that this is more a social podcast than a science and I am not listeing to it for that. I guess taking this medication might be different depending on what sex you identify with. I will tell you science like this dont care. Wish them luck.
  • Kevonski
    Short bite size science info, loving it!
  • uhghkghiogu
  • watch4rx
    Science Snippets
    Love the format of this show. The variety of topics piques listeners’ curiosity and brings scientists to life. I use science podcasts in my college classes & students often say they now see scientists as “real people”. Thanks for bringing these topics to the airwaves. Regina Barber’s interviews have been especially good.
  • Bennyboyboomer
    So entertaining and educational. The hosts are a bit enthusiastic at times, but the pros overweigh the not-even-cons. I don’t even care about ads. They need to make money anyway, right?
  • Stupid nick name rules
  • Discordant Doug
    Far left-wing political activists posing as journalists
    Some fairly interesting scientific and historical topics loaded with liberal bias and one-sided, woke ideology. It’s actually a pretty cool podcast when the discussion is not dripping with condescension and disdain towards anyone who isn’t all-in for the woken way. Why do they really, REALLY want to force EVERYONE ELSE’S kids so bad?? There’s simply no science to suggest it’s necessary for young children. In fact, it is more likely an Ill-advised treatment for young children to receive… the REAL reason…THEY already jabbed their own kids and can’t handle the idea of it being the wrong decision. For that reason ALONE, Libs will never consider that possibility…NEVER.
  • dijtncien
    Commercials? Really?
    This is why I stopped donating to NPR
  • MPZ1978
    The hosts are so irritating. Between the excruciating faux enthusiasm and dopey jokes it’s unlistenable.
  • fAiTh QiN
    Educational Activism
    I absolutely love this podcast. It brings science news, history, discoveries, and presents them to us in an engaging way. Especially in todays climate where Abortion has turned political, thank you for bringing the facts about the impacts on women and the community.
  • cheeseistasty
    More science, please
    Ever since Maddie Sofia left, the podcast has focused more on social issues than science. I understand that hosts change and podcasts evolve, but I really do miss the way it used to be. Sometimes this podcast is now simply a recycling of other NPR stories.
  • fpoonline
    Mostly filler, not content
    I love the idea of this podcast but not the execution. Admittedly, I am several decades removed from the very-young-adult demographic the writers and hosts are aiming for (ingratiatingly, at times, it feels like to me). There's usually very little actual information after the lead-in, the robotic ads, the re-statement of topic, the banter, and the often vague, cutesy interviews. Would love to see NPR put out a bite-sized science podcast that delivered.
  • frustratedddfddddddd
    Fantastic listen!!
    I love this podcast. I don’t always have time to listen to some of the other science podcasts that are an hour long- these are the perfect amount of info for me to get a general view of a new subject
  • Pmomof3
    Very biased at times
    I learn some interesting things from this podcast, but I feel they don’t present a balanced product. Would be so much better if the arguments for and against whatever issue they speak about would be presented. Balanced presentation of thought leaders (not just one) and studies would be so much better.
  • Maudraya
    Good for maintaining my English
    Not that much science as I would expect and also want but it’s enough to learn a few new English words and listening the accent.
  • LizSweetwater
    Selling beauty products?
    The episode What Does Race Have to do With Beauty ha good info but then the host endorses a specific beauty product! This is not in keeping with journalistic integrity. Is she a paid influencer? I am sorry I paid to subscribe to it. I give a 5 star to the usual episodes.
  • konnykenny
    Cannot delete “Subscription” episodes
    It’s a great podcast and I am 100% satisfied. BUT it’s super annoying that several episodes were “downloaded” with duplicate “Subscription” tags and I cannot delete them from my list of downloaded episodes. I am not sure it’s a bug or their way of annoying listeners to pay for subscription.
  • JackMoFo
    Disappointed in one sided point of view and opinion
    Don’t listen to this biased podcast
  • xanadu1215
    Really good story.
    They do really fun and interesting science. I don't care when they start getting a little political and i usually switch those off. But 95% of the time I am on board.
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